At SummerSlam 2012, Rey Mysterio's grand return to the company fell flat after the star lost to IC Champion The Miz clean, coming up short in his attempt to win WWE gold.
The bout itself was very good, serving as a highlight on the under-card. Mysterio and Miz, who have terrific in-ring chemistry, had several smooth and exciting exchanges. The near-falls towards the end were, in particular, tremendous.
Compare this great effort with the lame and forgettable Santino/Antonio Cesaro match for the United States Championship on the YouTube pre-show hours earlier, and it immediately becomes crystal clear which mid-card belt in WWE is the only one worth paying attention to.
So, despite his loss, Rey can pat himself on the back for his performance here, which was outstanding and helped elevate Miz and his IC belt to a new plateau.
But what does this loss mean for him and his future in WWE?
Well, the Miz/Mysterio match was interesting for a few reasons. First of all, it was Rey's big match back after a year (he's been out due to knee injuries, as well as a wellness suspension), and from the looks of it, the best way to tell what management thought about their popular babyface after his year off.
Of course, just because he was defeated doesn't mean management have totally lost their faith in him. After all, Miz has only been champion for three weeks and it was far too early to take the belt off of him and give it to someone else. That's just decent, common-sense booking.
However, the manner in which Miz retained the belt—pinning Mysterio clean after a Skull-Crushing Finale—does seem to give an indication of how WWE views the Mexican star. Indeed, if the company wanted to keep the title on Miz but retain Mysterio's credibility, they'd have booked the champion to win thanks to some nefarious tactics, like having his foot on the rope when it went for the pin or using a weapon on a vulnerable Rey while the referee was down. They chose not to.
Does this mean Mysterio's status has fallen in WWE's eyes and they now see him as someone who can be used to help other people get over? Possibly. It will be interesting to observe how Rey, a former World Heavyweight Champion, is booked in the future and whether his stock continues to plummet.
Will he ever be in the main event picture again? Judging by tonight's result, maybe not. If he can't even beat the IC Champion clean, how can he beat the WWE or World Heavyweight Champion?
Of course, the result of the bout probably means we just haven't quite seen the end of the Mysterio/Miz feud, which will probably continue, maybe even with Rey taking the title from Miz in the end. After all, what kind of a babyface just simply quits after failing once? Not Rey Mysterio, that's for sure!
No doubt the super-talented Rey will continue to mix it up with mid-carders on Raw and Smackdown. A tag team with fellow luchador Sin Cara has also been hinted at on television recently, and certainly those two together could help revive WWE's struggling tag team scene.
Even if WWE have lost faith in him, he can still be a valuable part of the the company and help elevate mid-carders like Miz or Cody Rhodes. So Mysterio has a few options going forward. Sadly, though, none seem to include getting a world title shot any time in the future
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